Alaric McCarthy

Aisling Rayne

Social Scientist

Role at Cawthron

Aisling is an environmental social scientist in Cawthron’s Social Science team. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on understanding people-environment relationships across a range of settings to enable more just and sustainable environmental policy and management. Aisling co-leads projects or research ‘clusters’ within several transdisciplinary programmes, broadly focused on (1) freshwater values and biodiversity, (2) food systems (including food security and sovereignty), and (3) the national research system. These projects intersect her training in conservation genomics, freshwater ecology, and community-based research, and her current research interests in human geography, transdisciplinary conservation science, complexity theory, and science and technology studies.

Technical skills, experience and interests

  • Community-based research
  • Relationships between people and environment
  • Conservation science and genomics
  • Qualitative social science methods, including interviews and
  • thematic analysis
  • Science and technology studies
  • Policy-research interface


  • PhD Biology, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, 2022
  • BSc (Hons) Biology, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, 2017
  • BSc Ecology, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, 2016

Professional Affiliations.

  • Chair, Te Pūnaha Matatini Whānau
  • Co-lead, Ngā Pī Ka Rere, New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge
  • Technical Advisory Group on Regenerative Farming Practices, Ministry for Primary Industries
Alaric McCarthy